Roaring into 2014 - with new tires |

Tracy Lee Curtis is a humorist, writer and speaker. She writes family humor for the Charlotte Observer. Her column appears each Sunday.
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Roaring into 2014 - with new tires

01/05/14 06:57

So, over Christmas I’m taking a carload of family to the movies, and my mom asks, “What is that sound?” And I explain: Oh, it’s the car; it’s getting old, so it’s just louder than it used to be. And she says, “You need new tires.”

OK, let’s back up. Months ago, I’m driving my SUV and think to myself, wow, it’s loud in here. It’s sort of what it sounds like when you’re in your house and somebody’s using a leaf blower outside – that low roar that’s annoying when it starts, but then you forget about. Until it stops, and you find yourself mumbling, “thank you.”

The kids notice it too. They want me to turn up the radio; they can’t hear it. Now part of this is the leaf blower in the trunk. But also because I’ve faded the music to the front so I can hear it. The car’s getting older, but so am I, so I created my personal surround sound on the driver’s side.

It’s not likely there’s something wrong. I had it inspected earlier in the year. I’ve replaced the timing belt, the starter and the battery. It’s just getting old. But it’s paid for, so I don’t care if the leaf blowers hold a convention in the back seat – I’m hanging on to it.

I think I’m just comparing it to my friend’s hybrid. Her SUV is like riding around in a padded room. On a road made of cotton. It’s so quiet you can hear your thoughts. I actually heard a kid swallow, and he was wearing a turtleneck.

Not so in my ride. As the months wear on, I can’t even use my phone. I used to wear a Bluetooth and return phone calls, but now, it’s way too noisy for that. Same with the music. I took some folks to the mountains and said we can either talk or listen to music, but not both. They got so tired of hollering over the leaf blower, they decided it best to use the time to make a grocery list.

Driving out of town for Christmas, my son decides it’s not so much a leaf blower anymore, but more like a motorcycle following us wherever we go. So we all use headphones. And the kids put “Prius” on their Christmas lists. And now Mom’s telling me I just need new tires?

Pulling out of Firestone and onto the open road, nobody says anything. I look at the kids in the rearview mirror and they’re looking around the car like I just replaced the interior. My oldest catches my eye and just shakes his head. Months of being chased by motorcycles and leaf blowers have worn us all down. And now … silence.

Oh well. Live and learn. Could somebody please hand me my phone?

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